As learned on Sunday, Christian Ehrhoff has agreed in principle to a one-year, $1.5-million contract, pending a physical and medical evaluation. According to Kings hockey operations, those evaluations are as of now scheduled to take place in Southern California next week, around when the signing would be made official. That’s also around when the defenseman’s first media availability should be expected to occur. Contrary to a report earlier this week, hockey operations informed LAKI that there is not a no-movement clause written into his contract.
Though Ehrhoff has a concussion history and missed large stretches of play last season, including Pittsburgh’s postseason series against the New York Rangers, the Kings obtained his medical records, and there weren’t any hang-ups from a health standpoint. Ehrhoff had been cleared for contact by the Penguins in April, and his agent stated to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in late May that he had been given “a clean bill of health.” He has been symptom-free all summer according to a source in hockey ops who also spoke about the defenseman’s ability to use his feet to get out of trouble and his proficiency in passing and shooting.
Dean Lombardi had been in conversations with Ehrhoff’s representation during the summer, and the defenseman ultimately narrowed down his choices of teams last week before agreeing to terms with Los Angeles.
While Ehrhoff’s impending signing raises the question of how the organization plans on handling Slava Voynov, at this point it is still too early to gain a firm sense of whether or not Voynov will play (or be allowed to play) for Los Angeles in 2015-16.
According to hockey operations, Voynov has not yet been released from a detention facility (though he has been eligible for a work-release program). The current hurdle with Voynov is his immigration status, which has not yet been resolved. Should his immigration status be resolved, the league’s investigation will then take place.
Voynov is also rehabilitating from a torn Achilles tendon suffered away from hockey-related activities and remains suspended by the Kings as well as the league. Though the legal hurdles appear to be the most significant impediment towards the resuscitation of his career at this point, I have been told that he is “getting close” to being able to skate, and his original general rehabilitation timeline holds firm. In April, Dean Lombardi told reporters that a potential return from injury could come “in the middle of training camp,” though because of his immigration status and a potential league decision, any hypothetical return to the Kings remains murky.